SEO Keyword Research: 14 Most Common Mistakes You Must Avoid

SEO Keyword Research: 14 Most Common Mistakes You Must Avoid

The most essential part of search engine optimization (SEO) is Keyword research. Keywords have a key influence on the long-term success of a business. Did you know that 53.3% of the website traffic is engendered through an organic search?

 According to HubSpot, 60% of marketers state that search engine optimization (SEO) generates the best quality leads that help them achieve the desired sales.

Search engines are now smarter and don’t depend as much on certain keywords as they used to a couple of years ago. But providing the search engine with content that has certain keywords in proper places can help you achieve your SEO goal.

A study shows that 66% of marketers don’t outsource keyword research.

Making the correct keyword choices can help you enhance your website traffic and generate accurate and relevant leads. The keywords affect the search engine optimization (SEO) decisions you make.

However, you can use plenty of available data to make better choices about social media marketing and content writing and convert the leads to sales. But there are certain common mistakes that may frequently occur while performing SEO keyword research.

Therefore, it is important that you identify what you need to do and which errors to avoid while researching the keyword. However, before we dive deep into the dos and don’ts of SEO keyword research, let’s get some basic SEO keyword matching knowledge.

Types of Keyword Matching

The most crucial metric to look for when searching for the relevant or perfect keyword is search volume. This shall be the foremost thing to check with different keyword research tools such as Moz, Ahrefs, SEMrush, etc.

These research tools bid three different types of keyword matching:

1. Broad Match

A broad match comprises all the mentioned keywords in no specific order and may contain other words. For example, let’s say your targeted words are “blue socks,” the broad match may include “blue socks for men,” “socks for blue shoes,” etc.

2. Phrase Match

The Phrase match comprises the mentioned keywords in a specific order and may include other words. For example, let’s say the results shown would be “where to buy blue socks” and “knee-high blue socks.”

3. Exact match

The exact match comprises only the mentioned keywords in a particular order, i.e., “blue socks.”

While there is an enormous variance in the search traffic of all these keywords matches, you may obtain unsatisfactory results if you abandon using the exact keyword match.

However, when using keyword research tools to evaluate search volume, evade considering broad match and phrase-match figures and base your choices on exact matches.

Starting Keyword Research

Before you start the keyword research, you should ask yourself certain questions that will help you make and sustain your SEO strategies in the longer run.

  • What are your SEO goals, and what targets are you looking to set?
  • What resources will you use to direct your research?
  • Which keywords do you plan to rank on or already rank for?
  • What keywords do your competitors target and rank on? 
  • What will be the measures to evaluate your progress and accomplishments?

It is crucial to assess both your individual strategies as well as the technical plans that direct your research. Sustaining this approach will certify that your research is focused and fruitful. 

14 Mistakes You Must Avoid While Conducting Keyword Research

According to Ahrefs, one of the most popular keywords searching tools, 95% of keywords get less than 10 searches per month.

 This means that the old tried and tested strategies don’t work anymore as the competition now is fierce. And if you don’t get the keywords accurate, you may end up unnoticed by the audience. This may cost you and your clients a huge business loss.

Driving valuable traffic that turns into leads and eventually helps get sales directly from the website is crucial. And the initial step towards it is to prepare a thorough keyword plan.

Let’s dive deep into the 14 keyword research mistakes you might be making:

1. Ignoring Search Intent

When looking to find keywords, a lot of marketers emphasize the volume of the search and ignore the most important factor that should be focused, i.e., “why.” The following questions are important when you are searching for keywords:

  • Why are users searching a certain keyword?
  • What does the user mean by that search?
  • What is the user looking for based on that specific term?
  • Is it worth ranking in the 1st position for a keyword that couldn’t essentially lead to any sale? 

Instead of focusing on the search volume and how many users searched for that specific query; you need to concentrate on the intent of the search or the purpose of that search.

The intent of the researcher breaks down into two major things:

  • Ascertaining what people who will visit your website want to purchase.
  • Creating valuable content for those users is the best option. 

Types of Search Intent

  • Informational

If a person is looking to find something, gather information, or learn something about a specific topic, the intent will be considered as informative intent. 

Examples: Manchester airport directions or live football match scores.

  • Navigational

If a person is looking for a certain business, organization, or brand, it will be considered navigational intent.

Examples: Facebook, Nike.

  • Transactional

If a person is looking to purchase something, it will be considered transactional intent.

Examples: Buy MacBook Pro, discounted tickets to New York.

  • Commercial Investigation

Suppose a person has already made a decision on what he is looking to buy and is now looking for more detailed information. In that case, it will be considered as a commercial investigation.

Examples: Top restaurants in Sydney, best protein powder.

2. Permitting Clients to Pick Keywords

The major keyword research error is not to research the keyword in the first place.

You might have customers or a clients who want to guide you on their targeted keywords. Unfortunately, their keywords are often long-tail, have broad meanings, ignore the search intent, or are too difficult to even start with.

Many brand owners and SEO marketers think they know the searches that users will make. However, keywords are supposed to be based on the analysis, not intuitions.

3. Ignoring the SERPs

Multiple keyword research tools, including Google keyword planner, Moz, Ahrefs, etc., simplify searching for keywords. In addition, you can dive deep into the user data, in-depth analysis, look at past trends, and even get to know what keywords your competitors are ranking for.

Many researchers spend ample time digging deep into research tools that they oversee the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). You should be looking at what type of searches are performed on SERPs and what keywords are ranking for your top terms. Then you can use this data to elevate your campaigns.

4. Focusing on One Keyword Only

The other biggest SEO keyword research mistake SEO marketers make is focusing on just one keyword in an entire content piece. Google algorithms are improving at comprehending context and understanding framework. This means strategizing a single keyword per piece of content is history.

Instead of directing the content optimization towards a single keyword, marketers need to look for similar terms that can support the primary keyword. You also need to make sure that the secondary keywords you are looking to target make sense for your piece of content and are not out of context.

For example, if your targeted keyword is local SEO, you should also look to target the benefits of local SEO or local SEO audit. You need to incorporate multiple keywords to efficiently surge your visibility in the SERPs.

5. Targeting High-Volume Keywords Only

What metrics do you consider when you are looking for the intent of the keywords or selecting the keywords to aim?

 If you are only looking to target high-volume keywords or the metrics you consider are finding the high-volume keywords as the right keywords, there is a high possibility that you miss out on other better keywords.

It is because high-volume tends to ignore the intent of the user. Additionally, high-volume keywords are highly competitive, expensive to bid, and difficult to rank.

Rather you can consider mid-volume keywords that match the user’s search intent are easier to rank for and inexpensive to bid.

6. Evading Long-Tail Keywords

SEO marketers are turned off because long-tail keywords and phrases have a lower search volume. But what they do not consider is that long-tail keywords make up 70% of all search traffic.

Long-tail keywords may sometimes have lower search volume but are easier to address and rank. They are less competitive. You can cover a broad topic using multiple circumstantial keywords and are more likely to provide users with what they are looking for.

7. Ignoring Topical Research

As discussed earlier, it is recommended that you include a wide range of keywords, probably primary and secondary, instead of just focusing on one keyword.

This is because it creates topical specialty, over a comprehensive idea, instead of an individual term. Topical research is the act of looking for associated topics that the highlighted keyword targets.

For example, if you are looking to rank for the keyword “SEO,” you will not write an article of 3,500 words targeting just “SEO” alone. In fact, you should find other similar keywords that the users may be looking for, such as SEO tools or SEO strategies.

8. Neglecting Conversions

Often, the terminologies you use to describe your brand or service aren’t the identical terms your customers use to describe your product.

 Utilizing keyword research tools is not enough. In addition to that, it is important to speak to your consumers, solve their queries and listen to what your audience say.

You need to consider and look at how your audience labels their challenges, the solutions they are looking for, and the kind of services they want.

You need to check the reviews provided by them, social media posts, customer service emails, and also listen to the customer service calls to find the exact keywords and phrases consumers speak about the problems they encounter and the solutions they are looking for or have tried so far.

9. Inserting Keywords at the End

SEO marketers disregard SEO and keywords until the conclusion and tend to produce content for customers. Unfortunately, this is where they are mistaken.

 You cannot go back to the original content and add keywords that search engines can optimize once the content is already done. Therefore, keyword research should be the foremost thing when writing and must be done prior to writing the H1, and the keywords must be included naturally where possible.

Also, make sure you don’t stuff keywords in the article, as that can negatively impact.

10. Focusing on Google Only

When marketers are considering SEO, the first thing that comes to their mind is Google.

And this is where they make a mistake.

With technology evolving and the internet users increasing more than 4.66 billion globally, Google is not the only search engine.

Users are now surfing social media including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. more than Google. The number of active social media users has increased by more than 3.78 billion worldwide. Each social media network has a separate algorithm and diverse preferences that you must pay attention to.

If your keyword ranks on Google only, you might not be getting the response you are looking for, as your users may be searching for products and services on social media.

So, knowing what keywords or phrases your users’ search for is not enough. In addition, it is important to know what mediums your potential customers may be used to search for your product.

11. Forcing Exact Match Keywords

SEO marketers often try to force exact match keywords like “best travel agency London” or “black shoes”. You need to avoid trying to stuff difficult phrases and exact match keywords in your content and advertisements.

Google and other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and social media networks are way less particular about incorporating exact match keywords. The algorithms comprehend that the terms you use are acceptable with an “in” or multiple other words among parts of a keyword.

With the innovation of artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing, search engines are getting wiser and better at understanding the context.

12. Lacking Keyword Localization

People across the globe use different search terms when looking for a product. SEO marketers make a mistake because they think every user will search with the same keyword. Therefore, keyword localization is of utmost importance.

The variations in search terms based on a specific area, city, or even country, can abolish your SEO efforts.

For example, tonic, fizzy pop, and cola all refer to carbonated drinks but are termed differently in different countries. This is why focusing on the actual search engine results pages (SERPs) is necessary.

13. Passing over Keyword Difficulty

Most keyword research tools provide information on how difficult the keyword is to rank or how viable a specific term is in the SERPs.

And still, most SEO marketers seem to ignore it.

After all, if 45,000 users are looking for a term on the search engine, a few will click on your site and will land on your business page, right? This is only possible if your keyword can hitch the top spot or one of the top four SERPs.

 Sometimes a lesser volume and less difficult keyword or phrase will be easier to rank for and may become more profitable in the end. But keyword difficulty (KD) does not include a lot of aspects.

14. Not Scrutinizing Competitors

Competitive analysis is an important SEO activity and must be conducted frequently.

This lets you analyze your competitor’s strategies and you have a greater chance of not falling behind. If you are looking to fully analyze your competitor’s products and your products, you must frequently check which keywords they rank in search engine results and social media pages.

Fortunately, many tools allow you to validate your counterpart’s ranks and keywords.

Keyword research is difficult and can be frustrating at times due to misinformation out there. In addition, though it comes from a place of natural intent, the strategies are frequently obsolete and look like those used in the early 2000s.

While they all segment a common approach, keywords are very diverse because of the intent behind the terminologies. Therefore, it is important to know your customer needs and shape an approach that works for your brand and product.


Keyword research can be intimidating but is the first and foremost step for a good SEO strategy. Avoid making the above-mentioned mistakes when researching your keywords. Being conscious of these errors assists you set up an effective keyword research campaign and evade practices that harm your rankings.

A well-directed keyword analysis is undeniably one of the key fundamentals of SEO strategy. You have to consider multiple aspects such as the strategy of your competitors and your mutual keywords, the intent of the search, seasonality, etc.

Fortunately, plenty of available SEO tools can specify the predictable traffic and keywords with revolutionary potential. But, unfortunately, these SEO tools are expensive and not available for free. Moreover, the output from these SEO tools is insufficient, and the data composed from these tools need to be appropriately incorporated, which is far more complex and difficult.

Any of these SEO keyword research mistakes can cost you sales, customers, and the ranking on SERPs. Therefore, you need to build your business’s SEO strategy with keyword research. Good luck!

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SEO Keyword Research Most Common Mistakes You Must Avoid

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